altar boys speak Spanish
As Carlotta whispers the Latin phrases
From the old days:
"Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo."
With her late grandmother's crystalline rosary
Entwined around her fingers
Head bowed, kneeling on padded maroon
She entreats the Virgin Mary
To get Enrique a good job and make Jose marry
And save the baby from becoming a bastard.
Never much for herself.
She has the church and her children
And Sundays off from the dress factory
When she proudly watches her son, Manuel,
With the gringo priest transferred from
Who looks like Robert Redford when he smiles
And makes an attempt at least to speak the
Even though they cannot understand him most
of the time.
Domingo. A time for good memories, not tears,
and plenty of food.
She will cook, but pretend her mother did most of
And later, on the stoop, drift lazily into the cool
Into visions of loving embraces and
Secret whispers that scale the walls and pierce
Bricks of the distant prison that contains her